Why I Am Encouraging My Son To Fill Out A NCAA Tournament Bracket

NCAA Tournament Bracket

It is of my opinion that March is the best time of the year. Say what you want about Christmas, but the lights, the trees, the presents stand no chance with how special March is. We are changing the seasons from Winter to Spring, and there is a bounce in everyone’s step as the weather warms up. There is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, filling out a NCAA Tournament Bracket, Spring Training baseball, transitioning to Opening Day (albeit in April), and then the Mrs.’s Birthday to cap off what I like to consider the best month of the year.

March for me has always been special. It seems that every year, that I can remember at least, there is one Sunday that I look forward to more than any other day of the year… Selection Sunday. That day is like Christmas to me and bigger than Super Bowl Sunday. As a Kansas Jayhawks fan, we know with near certainty that our team will make it into the tournament, but what seed, where we will be playing, and who we have to beat to win our 6th NCAA Championship are all questions answered on that Sunday.

The days that follow have many other questions and debates. What 12 seed will beat a 5 seed? Will this finally be the year that a 16 seed tops a 1 seed? Who is going to be a sleeper pick? How many brackets do I fill out in the office pool?

There Is An Excitement In The Air

NCAA Tournament Bracket
Father and son filling out their NCAA Tournament Bracket together.

This year, however, there was a question that was answered late in the season, will my son want to fill out a NCAA Tournament Bracket? The answer was never on the bubble; it was an immediate yes. This season, he has taken quite a liking to college basketball, and I figured that he would enjoy it, no matter how many games he would watch throughout March. Even though he wasn’t entering into a bracket pool and was filling out a NCAA Tournament Bracket for fun, there were those teachable reasons why I wanted him to fill one out.

While there are some fans who take their tournament bracket seriously, I want him to understand how sports can be fun. There will be times that he will make a pick on his bracket that I wouldn’t make, and not only do I have to be OK with that, but we will also have fun rooting against each other on the couch spending quality father and son time together.

Some of the fondest memories that I have from my childhood are from the March’s that my dad and I would spend on the couch, looking over RPI rankings and digging through stats to figure out our brackets. I remember coming home from school every day to turn on the TV and the joy that I would get every time I could mark in red the teams that my dad had wrong on his bracket, only to experience the pain when he would mark the teams that I had wrong.

Filling Out My Son’s NCAA Tournament Bracket Is A Bigger Test For Me

NCAA Tournament Bracket
What? You are picking a 16 seed over a 1 seed?

Not only will this test my son’s sportsmanship during the tournament but as he fills out his bracket, it will test my competitiveness. Sure I will want him to make the smart choices (whatever is consider a smart choice during the NCAA Tournament), but I will have to be able to accept that he won’t always make that smart choice. He might base his picks off who is the higher seed, he might make his picks based on who has the cooler mascot, he might pick a 16 seed to beat a 1 seed, or if he wants to get under dad’s skin, he might pick the Kentucky Wildcats. It will just have to be one of those things that I have to accept, and that might be one of the most difficult things to accept as a Kansas Jayhawks fan.

Much like my dad, the most important thing I want my son to learn is how incredibly fun sports can be whether you win or lose. It doesn’t matter if the 10 seed you picked to lose in the second round beats a 2 seed (here’s looking at you Kentucky vs. Wichita State). What matters is that we spend those special moments together, filling out our brackets, watching the games, rooting on whatever team we would like to see win, and eventually celebrating the new national champion for the next year.

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